Skip to main content

Full text of "A search in secret Egypt"

See other formats

THE DESERT GUARDIAN                    33
of a creature of prey are linked to the head and face of a noble human being, without deducing that elementary lesson? Who can read the symbolism of the hooded snake which rises above the headdress, the uraeus-emblem of Pharaonic sovereignty, without perceiving that the Sphinx's call is not alone to be a king over others but to be a king over oneself? It is a mute preacher in stone, delivering a silent sermon to all who have ears to hear.
That the Sphinx represents something or someone divine is suggested by the hieroglyph inscriptions on the walls of the Upper Egyptian temples, as at Edni, where a god is pictured as changing himself into a lion with a human head in order to vanquish Set, the Egyptian Satan. That the Sphinx conceals some architectural secret and hides some mystery cut in stone is equally suggested by a curious fact. In every other part of Egypt small copies of the Sphinx were set up before their respective temples, as guardians and protectors of the threshold, or else lions were figured protectively at the gates of the temples. Even the keys of the temples bore the shape of a lion. But the Sphinx of Gizeh alone seems to stand without a temple at its rear. The so-called Temple of the Sphinx, that fortress-like structure of ruddy squared stone columns and plain massive walls, does not belong to it at all, as Professor Selim Hassan's latest excavations have finally and fully proved. It is now revealed as being really the temple of the Pyramid of Khafra, the Second Pyramid, with which it is connected by a paved sloping causeway, a causeway which had now been completely unearthed. Moreover, this curiously built sanctuary stands before and not behind the Sphinx.
The small open temple which Caviglia dug out from the space against the breast and between the paws but which has now nearly gone, was built but lately in comparison with the real date of the statue. It is made up of three fourteen-feet-high stelas, which acted as roofless walls, two of which time and acquisitive hands have taken down and removed. Even the sacrificial altar which once fronted the entrance to this shrine and which now fronts the entrance to the paws, is of Roman work, although made from a piece of red granite taken from the far older Khafra temple close by.
Where, then, is the real temple of the Sphinx?
I raised my head a little and looked behind the statue. And I saw, from the angle where I was sitting, looming up in the